Thursday, August 19, 2010

Little Boxes Full of Ticky-Tacky

This week I am undertaking a monumental task, a task that challenges me to the very core of who I am. It is forcing me to become something I have never been, not ever before. Why, Cheastypants, I hear you murmur, whatever could this be? Are you not the very ideal of the Renaissance woman? Can you not leap tall buildings in a single bound and cook gourmet meals with one hand tied behind your back? Well, yes, naturally, all of that is true, but there is, it turns out, always room for growth. For example, it goes without saying that I am glamorous, sophisticated, unspeakably beautiful, and above all, always well dressed. But did you know that I am also an organizational maestro, a neat-freak par excellence? No? Well join the club. Neither did I.

That's not to say I don't enjoy a well organized room, or an exceptionally well planned schedule. I do, very much. And I will be right up front and say that I really don't like filth. A dirty anything will drive me straight to bedlam, dusty surfaces give me imaginary hives. Admittedly, I don't always jump right up and clean the minute I notice toothpaste buildup in the sink. Who's got time for that when there's work to be done and fun to be had? Instead, I schedule a top-to-bottom house cleaning every other week, and try to stay on top of it that way. And this works. It keeps me calm and balanced, and stops me from making other people insane.

Clutter, on the other hand, has never really bothered me all that much. Not a lot of clutter, but some. I tend to leave little nests of shoes all over the house, and my books inevitably take up large percentages of available flat spaces. My reading glasses are rarely where I think they are (Handsome found one of them in the laundry yesterday). My papers sit in stacks, and I forget to put them back in the filing cabinet. To combat this, I've always been something of a congenital thrower-away-er of things so that my habits of clutter don't turn into something more nefarious and scary. Ugh, hoarding. Gives me shivers.

So it is somewhat to my surprise to find that when it comes to Handsome and me, I am the person to whom the role of Designated Organizer and Neat Freak has fallen. I never ever EVER thought that would happen. Throughout my life I always chose roommates who were organizers, knowing that I would drift toward their magnetic north and be happier that way. Yet here I am, living with the man I love, and I find myself having mini heart attacks on a twice weekly basis over the boxes that are still unpacked in the study. Now I know, as the well educated daughter of a minister and graduate of countless Vacation Bible Camps, that love is patient and kind, but boy howdy. Paul never lived with somebody who has three big boxes full of papers. PAPERS. And photographs, and baseball cards and wristbands from concerts and busted hats and pay stubs from his high school summer job. Need I go on.

We've lived here in this house now for almost 5 months, and I'd started feeling like we'd only moved in maybe 95%, and then we'd stopped. What's more, I was becoming increasingly convinced that we'd initially made poor decisions about use of space and location of furniture in the home. I knew, I just knew, that if I reorganized the study, moved some shelves out, moved some other ones in, took apart the disorganized bookshelf in the living room and switched some other things from here to there, and installed the bigger shelving unit in the kitchen, that we'd magically have a super-duper house that was 20 times more space efficient and livable and pleasant than the one we've been occupying.

Thus began my Epic Never-Ending Odyssey Down the Tunnel of Doom With Teeny Tiny Light At End of Said Tunnel. The good news is that the Teeny Tiny Light gets bigger and bigger as I get closer to it. Initially, I thought I'd really feeped it up big time. I looked around after the first day's work, at the piles and piles of stuff strewn about in wild abandon and almost had an aneurism. But then I remembered that what looked like an exercise in delirious chaoticism was actually kind-of-sort of organized, and took a deep breath. Day Two, if anything, was a little worse, at least until Handsome got home that evening and put his gorgeous muscles to use by moving furniture about. Day three, Handsome sat down with one of his boxes and sorted through some stuff, and I sorted through my old files, and we threw out buckets of stuff. I anticipate great things in the future.

Today is Day Four and when I looked around this morning, I saw that the Teeny Tiny Light at the End of the Tunnel is considerably larger. Maybe even as large as our house, if I can squeeze it through. Wish me luck, world. Amazing Cheastypants, Organizer Extraordinaire, is on the job.

P.S. If anybody wants to come over and tell me what to do รก la slave driver, you are more than welcome. As you can see by this blog post, I'm not exactly chomping at the bit to get started.


erinharlan said...

Holy shit. Kristin. I hadn't read your blog since we got a new computer and I had to erase all my favorites (another story) but I finally found it again and I LAAAAAHHHVE it! And I LAAAAAAAHVE YOU! Goo - you're such a sassy bitch I'm sorry I live (still) so far away. Boooo.

Cheasty said...

erin! man, it's good to see you here. I LAAAAAAAHVE you too, my friend, and wish like hell you still lived in texas. but fine, whatever. go back to your jet-skiing, orange eating, and white-sand-beach-lying ways. effing florida.

Kevin said...

I'm in the same boat! I just moved in to my apartment and I'm about 95% moved in but too lazy to finish. You have inspired me to make the final a little while.

A side note: At the farewell banquet of my first semester in China one of the teachers sang us the song about "little boxes made of ticky tacky." He described it as a "famous American lullaby" and explained that he sang it to his daughter every night. None of us had the heart to correct him.

Cheasty said...

Kevin, you kill me. Why, oh why did you ever leave China? Now I have no amusing stories to read on the interwebs every day and I am profoundly sad. Please please please keep writing!